May 2005 Legal Update

By: Louis D. Stober, Esq.


Imagine one day you are at work performing your duties as a County employee. Imagine further that to your surprise, you see some non-County workers performing the same duties! What do you do? The answer is to immediately notify the CSEA so that a subcontracting grievance can be filed. This is exactly what happened in a recent case involving the repair of fences and livestock sheds at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Upon investigation, CSEA learned that the Department of Parks and Recreation had subcontracted out the repair work to an outside contractor after County employees had begun the work and were subsequently "pulled off the job".

CSEA then filed a grievance under Section 32 of the CBA because the County not only had contracted out CSEA work to persons not in the bargaining unit, but the County also did not notify CSEA of its intention to subcontract nor did the County confer with CSEA prior to the subcontract.

At the arbitration we presented testimony and evidence proving that CSEA members had performed those duties and that the Union had not been notified of or allowed to meet over the subcontract.

In a decision that has put teeth into Section 32 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the arbitrator ordered the County to provide CSEA with the documentation indicating the labor cost of the project and that this dollar amount was to be equally divided among those employees who would have performed the work in question.

Rather than accept the arbitrator's award, the County chose to go to Court. We won at the Supreme Court and the Appellate Court levels. The County thus was ordered to pay the labor cost of the project to the employees who would have performed the work with interest as well as having to pay CSEA's costs for having to defend this case in Court.

The Arbitrator put it succinctly: "I am persuaded that the County violated Section 32 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement when it failed to adhere to its contractual obligations as it pertains to the subcontracting of work. What is the appropriate remedy for the County's violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement? Despite repeated requests, the County has not provided the Union with any indication of the cost of the project at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration… Therefore, the County shall provide the Union with documentation that indicates the labor cost of the project. This dollar amount shall then be equally divided among those employees who would have performed the work in question."

Remember, if you see non-CSEA people doing your job, immediately contact the Union. Not only will we fight to get the work back but there can be a large financial payment involved as well.